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Showing posts from August, 2015

Are your fabrics made of cotton? Burn test will tell you!

After laundry, vacuum cleaning, a bit of clothes folding and my Nespresso machine descaling (uff I'm tired!), I decided to test whether two pieces of fabric I bought 10 days ago (or maybe more, time flies!) are 100% cotton...
How so? Let me start from the beginning... few weeks ago I decided to start a pretty nice (but likely highly unsuccessful at least for me) project: making rice heating pads without a sewing machine ! You can use heating pads to warm up your feet, hands, and bed linen too! You can warm them up in the oven or in the microwave....with a caveat: they have to be made of cotton or any other natural fiber that doesn't burn as soon as you put it into the oven/microwave !!! Heating pads are very useful for winter time and I'd like to make some for two people I love.
As first thing I went to a haberdashery and bought two colourful fabric stripes! I washed them and then, only then, asked myself whether they were made of cotton....
I looked on the internet and found t…

Candle fragrance warning labels (buyer/recipient's point of view). Etichette di avvertimento delle fragranze per candele (punto di vista del compratore/ricevente).

I have recently joined a FB page in which amateur and professional candle makers can exchange opinions, ask questions and share their creations, and noticed that the topic 'labelling/CLP labels' appears pretty often on the page's wall. This is a very important matter, especially for professional sellers that MUST be compliant to EU law regulations regarding the labelling of products they sell (that applies to EU, don't know about elsewhere). Nonetheless, I believe that being 'transparent' on the products we give away as presents is important too. It is not only critical for health reasons (pregnancy, allergies, etc) but also because people should have the right to chose which product they want to use in their houses.
There are at least two people involved in this chain: YOU, the candle maker who'll deal with highly concentrated fragrance oils/essential oils and the RECIPIENT who will use the candle and who will deal with very low percentages of oils.
Let's …

Chocolate Fudge candle

I have also recently bought from 4Candles a new candle fragrance: US Style Chocolate Fudge. 
I wanted to try it with 100% soy wax because soy wax usually has a very good scent throw... 
I decided to make a container candle with uncoloured and unscented soy wax, that contains soy wax chocolate chunks!
I love it! Still, I have a warning for the fragrance: take it easy when using the US style fragrances...they are incredibly powerful!!! :-)

Wood wicks from 4Candles: the virdict!

I have to say I'm pretty satisfied: single medium-sized wood wick with 100% soy wax (EcoSoya CB-Xcel) stays lit without any problem! The flame is 'petit' but stable and nice!
Thumbs up!

Mini-review on new candle-making products !!!

Yesterday, I received my parcel from 4 Candles UK including: 12 x wood wicks with holders  30 x safety labels (stickers) 1.6 Kg of EcoSoya CB-Xcel 1x medium  and 1x large Hexagonal Jar 1 x US Style Chocolate Fudge fragrance (I'll try this another time)

Glass containers are absolutely lovely, but the container's bottom is not flat and wood wick holder tilts...
In addition, the container is pretty narrow and I guess re-lighting the candles, when there's a little wax left, might be a bit difficult.

The EcoSoya CB-Xcel works great! It solidifies very slowly and adheres to the container's wall well. I didn't have a massive shrinking (the crack on the top is my fault because I moved the candle too early) and so far I haven't noticed frosting! Yuppie!

I didn't use dyes, but I added 10 drops (for 150 gr of wax) of a food grade mandarin essential oil (Céven’Arômes, organic farming).

Mandarin essential oil has relaxing, calming and sedative properties and a very pleasant smell…

Recycling candles

Melt left overs of candles or failed candle attempts!  Filter the melted wax with a gauze and pour it again!  Re-melting is not my favourite way to prepare a candle but it is certainly a way to avoid wax wasting!

Make your BASIL plants live forever?

...In a way you can!
I'll try to kept it as simple as possible (not an easy task being a plant biologist myself!), but I can tell you that with a small trick you can have fresh basil all over the year (NO growth hormones needed)!!!

Couple of months ago I posted pics of my balcony-based garden with my beloved sweet basil (I'm not overdoing with compliments, the variety of basil I love most is the sweet basil indeed). 
All plants grew, survived my absence during holidays (they have experienced a pretty prolonged drought this year) and set new leaves and incredibly tiny fruits (tomatoes and strawberries)... 
Expectedly, but still unfortunately, after a while (also because they are confined in relatively small pots, with poor or no fertilization) they started senescing (ageing).

I know my basil will not live forever in such a pot and very likely it won't survive the cold winter outside.... but I have no space to bring it inside given its current size!!!
Here what I did to prepare my…

Scent and protect your closet and drawers naturally!

Now it' s the right moment! 
- I've collected all my closet/drawer now-not-so-much scented sachets
- I've emptied them (this time I haven't recycled the lavender floral buds because they were pretty old and I've already re-used them many many times), and cleaned the sachets from impurities, debris etc.
- I've removed dry debris from the new lavendin floral buds (I always have the feeling that they can give you some crazy sneezing if inhaled!!!) with a plastic mesh and put lavendin flower buds in a plastic container
Lavendin is a hybrid between true lavender and spike lavender and you can find a nice description about it's propertieshere

- I've added 8-10 drops of organic lavender essential oil, sealed the container, shook it vigorously and repeated the operation three times. 

To maximize the absorption of the essential oil on the floral buds, I left the containers tightly closed for an over night Today I've filled the sachets and put them back in the close…

Craft paper bags

I love craft paper! You can use it for many projects and a roll will last for quite a long time!
A while ago I was looking for nice small bags for my home-made lip balms but I didn't want to spend a fortune by going to a craft shop (even if I would have loved to! ahahaah). I love the fancy, tiny, colourful and perfectly sized bags you can find for example in Confetti stores (in UK) or Loisirs et creation (in France) but they are pretty expensive... I remember I found a video (link to the video) on Youtube showing how to gift wrap very small items by only using wrapping paper, double sided adhesive tape and scissors. I gave it a try myself with crafting paper and here you can see the result! Nice and simple, isn't it? 

Soy wax frosting

'Frosting' (1) is a common problem when working with soy wax! Frosting is the formation of white spots (sometimes pretty large ones) that make appear your candle less nice or perfect. Frosting bothers most of the people approaching soy wax, but I want to remind you that this 'phenomenon' (to me it's not a flaw!) occurs when you use pure soy wax and it is therefore indication of a 100% soy wax candle!!!
Here you have some suggestions to reduce frosting:
pre-heat the container stir the melted wax not too vigorouslypour the soy wax at the coolest temperature possible (I do agree that this helps a lot)use additives

If you're still having frosting problems despite all these tricks, I'd advice you to eitheruse a non-transparent container (tin containers or opaque glass containers) or to DECORATE your container so that you can hide the excessive frosting!!!

You can recycle left overs of sewing/embroidering (2) and create a nice decoration with the help of a glue gun (3…

Candles with tilted layers!

To add a touch of liveliness to your soy wax candles you can try to make tilted layers!

Before trying myself, I've looked for tutorials and found pretty complicated ones... Some people suggest to use buckets with sand or soil to tilt your container, which is in theory a pretty wise suggestion...if you live by the seaside or if you have a garden! What I did use instead was a wood chopstick (yes, the same as the one I use for whipping soy wax!!!) that I put beneath one side of the glass jar, and few objects (small boxes, books etc) that I put all around to prevent the chopstick to roll away or the jar to move from his tilted position. See pic below.

I guess I will have to try new wood wick suppliers...

As I wrote yesterday in my post You can almost always fix a problem when it concerns candles! I decided to use a double wood wick with half of the original width (with respect to the ones I've been using before) by keeping at the same time constant the width of the glass container... in other words an 8 cm width glass container with a 0.85 cm instead of 1.9 cm width wood wick!
Here you have the result... it burns pretty well but you don't have a full melt pool....
Discussing with other candle makers it turned out that wood wicks burning capacity can really change from source to source and for this reason I'll soon place an order to a new UK-based company that apparently produces pretty good wood wicks!

...and more curls!!!! Pastel curls in layers!